I alluded to this in my post on the 18th, but I figured that it was important enough to warrant its own post to delve further into my concerns.
The good thing about my checklist/vitals notebook is that I can monitor trends over both the short term and longer term. For instance, I can note that for a period of about three weeks back in August and September of 2015 I only took my morning vitals, and completely forgot to take my afternoon and evening blood pressure readings during that time. I can also note that very slowly, my fasting blood sugar has crept up from 90-110 to 125-140, something that is going to warrant a little more attention in my diet. I can also note trends when I’ve been too depressed to record anything in my checklists, or periods when there has been little to no effort to maintain certain items in my checklist. (Up until just a few days ago, there were five items out of my nineteen that were consistently being ignored – I’ve recently refocused on that, and am now sporting a three-day streak of full marks on my checklists, and a fourth day was missed by one item.)
Since these checklists go back to October 2014, I can start to see annual trends occurring in my behaviors. And there’s one trend that concerns me, because I’m facing it head-on next month.
In 2015, I took a break from my checklists from February 9 to April 5. I remember being particularly depressed during that time, and the last thing I wanted to do was be accountable for my daily actions – I was content to just wallow in the pain and isolation of depression and basically let life roll over my back for a while.
In 2016, there was a remarkably similar break – from February 10 to April 23. Once again, I was in a persistent downswing and it showed in my lack of productivity.
Now, it is important to note that during both breaks from the checklists, I was still taking my medication religiously, and still more or less keeping up with my vitals. To be fair, it’s unfortunately not uncommon for me to miss one of my daily readings, and rarely I’ll miss two of three, but I’ve been pretty consistent with my vitals – over the last year, I’ve missed on average fewer than one reading per week, and I haven’t missed a complete day at all in that period of time.
I’m not sure what it is about this time of year that triggers the disengagement from my daily checklists. There’s no loss or tragedy during this time of year that would foreshadow a period of inactivity. I don’t just decide “it’s that time of year, the hell with everything for a couple months.” I genuinely don’t know why for the last two years, I’ve detached myself from my daily activity list on almost exactly the same day and re-engaged after a couple months (a little longer in the case of 2016). But I’m concerned for this year, since there’s a potential trigger.
I am not a fan or supporter of our new president, and based on things that he and his party have said they plan to accomplish over the next four years I am very concerned for the well-being and safety of both myself and a large number of my friends and family, and I can see that greatly affecting my mood over the next several weeks as events unfold. (NOTE: This is not a political post, and political comments on any social media platform will be deleted, regardless of the position of the comment. It is only relevant to this post because of it being a potential trigger for another downswing and nothing more.) So this year, with a potential societal trigger looming overhead, I am very concerned that I will once again lapse into inactivity.
I’m trying to refocus my efforts on completing my checklists now, so that in a few days when the window for a relapse opens it’ll be a well re-established habit to hit all or most items each day. That’s the best I can do, that and being accountable to you, my friends and readers, about what I’m spending my day doing. I may only write about what I did the previous day and call that a blog post, I don’t know. But I plan on keeping on keeping on.
None of us is certain what the future may bring. But hopefully it won’t bring a third straight year of me hanging it up for a while, regardless of the reason.